A Month of Letters

Mary Robinette Kowal has a challenge for you: A Month of Letters.

Simply put, write a letter each day. Handwrite it or type it, but make a physical letter. And send it to someone. Through the mail. The physical postal service. As she says,

“All you are committing to is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 23 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month.

Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and write for an audience of one. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.”.

About … hm, ten years ago, I think? I realized I was the world’s shittiest correspondent. Just, absolutely terrible. This was not really news to me. The part of the equation that was new was that I suddenly understood that this was hurtful. That it was isolating. That people sometimes reached out to me and got nothing in return but silence. That this silence might hurt.

I do not intend to move through my life hurting people accidentally. Sometimes I am hurtful on purpose. Sometimes I an unwittingly hurtful. But if I know a thing brings unhappiness to others and I know an easy way of mending or preventing that, I try to do so. I don’t always succeed, goodness knows. But returning correspondence was a thing I could start doing. And I did so.

I’m am still by no means perfect at returning mail. Or email. Letters languish, emails sit accusingly in my inbox. But I make an effort. And this Month of Letters is a good reminder to do so.

I’ll be writing letters in February. If you get one from me, well, this explains it.

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